Universal Access To All Knowledge
Home Donate | Store | Blog | FAQ | Jobs | Volunteer Positions | Contact | Bios | Forums | Projects | Terms, Privacy, & Copyright
Search: Advanced Search
Anonymous User (login or join us)
Upload

Reply to this post | Go Back
View Post [edit]

Poster: ghostofpig Date: Feb 20, 2007 6:43am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: The best Dead, and that's all there is to it.

(Disclaimer: For those of you who are slow, my tongue is in cheek, head is up ass. Call me an anti-Brentite if you must, though such is not the case).

I can't help noticing that there is an undertone of bias in many posts drawing lines around which years are the best. Some of you (certainly not me) have favorite years or periods and are extremely obnoxious about shouting out over the crowd things like "1978" or "Yay Brent." Like you whippersnappers know squat. Yeah, it's like, "Hey, now, dude, I saw the Dead at the Grand Canyon festival along with 3,000,000 other like minded burnouts and you should have heard the transition from" blah, blah, blah. Well, you guys are just stepping on my last nerve! You think that because you saw or heard something that this makes you some sort of freaking expert. You think because you can type that you can postulate a judgment here for all of us to yawn over. You think that you have intelligence.
You be wrong.

1967--1972 be the shit. That is all. No more, no less. After that, it's all dinner theater.

"Why, Ghost?" you ask me as if it weren't already obvious. "Sigh," I reply, getting bored with the whole thing. Okay, for the umpteenth time:

Once upon a time there were five (then six, then seven) divergent musicians (bluegrass, classical, blues,) gather without great expectations and form a band with no great purpose. Youthful ebullience. As time passes, they learn to play well enough to perform in such high class places as pizza parlors and strip clubs. They hone their chops well enough to play for a bunch of acid addled intellectuals left over from the Beat generation. They begin to absorb the energy of this social setting and slowly morph into a psychedelic jug band. Then, call it acid reflex, call it accident, they begin to experiment with sound. They get real instruments. Within a few years, they have moved from simplistic teen age juggers into something new and unique. The blues meets Stockhausen. Sparks fly. Fires start. These boys know that they are on to something, but they don't really know what. They are having way to much fun
enjoying the process more than the result.

They are young lions without limits, without constrictions, without obligations. They do as they wish, cocky, bold, musically arrogant. They are fueled by LSD, which clearly influence, almost governs the music they create. They are having fun. They bow to no one, yield to no one else's sense of musical right and wrong. They record a first Lp that bids farewell to the pizza hall sound and the simple backdrop to the Haight ethos, ending it with a monster jam that showed hints of what was to come.

Young Lions, roaring, never thinking of next year or even next week, thinking only of today, now. They have no need to sing "I'm gonna go for it, it's for sure." They just do it. The morph more, quickly now, into a band that links songs together, songs whose lyrics grow increasingly cryptic thanks to the help of another acid warrior wordsmith.

They discover the Dark Star. This is the star that will guide their journey over the next thirty years. This is no North Star, no fixed point in the sky that helps those who would journey by land or sea. Then, again, theirs is no such journey. Theirs is a journey of the imagination, transcending time and place: it is art, dynamic, questioning, never being complacent, always moving forward--or, better, moving like Walt Whitman by dispersal and reintegration, the American path towards complexity and away from stasis. The Dark Star: powerful enough to keep light from escaping, bending light, keeping that energy within until the moment of release and explosion.

So this unlikely group of musicians plays and plays and mirrors their audiences such that they become like twin orbs, each feeding the other with their peculiar energies.
Then comes Anthem of the Sun-- a celebration of the release of the light that the Dark Star has held. Everything is in the mix, including that moment of thick air that causes their would be producer to run for the hills. It is too much, too powerful, riding on the precarious edge between utter formlessness and form, flailing about in chaos until they give birth to the new. Beautiful thing, at once terrifying and revelatory.

The audience gasps, pauses, and drops another hit of acid to keep up. The faster we go, the rounder we get. Take no prisoners. Caution, indeed, do not step on tracks: this train will run you over. Best hop on board instead. On the bus or off the bus. We hop on, we becoming a part of the band which is often physically separated from us be mere feet. Or less. We dance naked in a ring around the sun, giving ourselves--or our SELVES--up to the other one, the otherness, the infinite, the Emersonian identity, uniting in the chaos.

We are lost, we are found. Death and rebirth, over and over.
The the Dark Star is revealed to us. They/we are ready. IT is ready. "Shall we go, you and I?" the same question T.S. Eliot was lost in for years. And the Star explodes, bathing us with wave upon wave of pent up energy, dancing spasmodically, emulating the chaos, waiting for the moment of release, which, when it comes, is followed by another wave and yet another wave until it all builds into a powerful tsunami that sweeps us for miles into the center of the ALL. We are rocked back by the power and the revelation of Christianity's first martyr: St. Stephen. Stephen, greek for crown: and we see the band, now wrapped in crowns of flame as they celebrate the fleeting matters of doubt and darkness; they, too, give themselves up completely, becoming martyrs to a higher cause. Simple answers pale before the mind of the answer man. There is no answer. There is only discovery. Birth, death, and rebirth. We dance to celebrate the ring around the sun AND the ring around the antipodal Dark Star. But we don't dance four by four: we dance eleven. We dance to Melville's "great white sperm whale" in a confirmation, an affirmation, a celebration of Whitman's dispersal/reformation of imagination as it dances with the new world it has just discovered.

Not done yet. We have been flung to the outer reaches. How to get home? One of two ways: Death or Love, Love or Death. These, too, pair in a dance around the sun. Which one? both. Both are essential to life and growth. Sometimes, it is the dirge of death, majestic death, a proud beautiful king; sometimes is the bacchanalian dance, a sexual ritual performed by--and we have not even mentioned Pan's priest--a man they call "pig." It is the darkness of death or the light of love. If death don't have no mercy, then we turn to the mercy of love. Release by disintegration or release through orgiastic ritual that is as old as death and just as powerful. Nitties to the rescue, so we laugh and dance and celebrate. Perhaps a marriage will occur; something born from nothing--only possibility. But it could have gone either way, or it could have gone a dozen other ways--no need for such closure all the time. That would become static, and that would lead to a death too final to accept.

Whew. With me so far?

Okay, okay. I'm going to go take my meds now and report to theman. I'll continue this Cream Puff War later.


Hey, don't yank my arm so hard.

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: Sugaree83 Date: Feb 20, 2007 7:02am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: The best Dead, and that's all there is to it.

Brevity is the soul of wit.

-Sugaree 10-17-83 Lake Placid
-Morning Dew 9-02-80 Rochester (need the Dick's version, the one here is no good).

Have a nice day.

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: kschneid Date: Feb 20, 2007 8:22am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: The best Dead, and that's all there is to it.

"-Morning Dew 9-02-80 Rochester (need the Dick's version, the one here is no good)."

That freaked me for a few minutes 'cause I was there and would've been all over that. AFAICT, the closest release to that show is a download for 9/3 & 4/80 (Vol. 7). Here's a snippet from the page for it:

Although some of the many great shows of the year are missing from the vault (including the bookends of Download Vol. 7, 9/2/80 in Rochester and 9/6/80 in Lewiston), ...

I don't recall the versions here being all that unlistenable. I'm streaming the aud now and it's fine. There are also a couple of sbd sources...

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: ghostofpig Date: Feb 20, 2007 7:09am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: The best Dead, and that's all there is to it.

If that were true, there would be no "Dark Star." Remember, too, that the sixties were a time dominated by long winded works that are somewhat impressionistic.

Howl.

Right back at ya!:)

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: Sugaree83 Date: Feb 20, 2007 7:33am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: The best Dead, and that's all there is to it.

Ghost,

Sorry, but you ain't crankin out no Dark Stars, and your post was certainly no great 60's 'impressionistic' piece of work.

Post a link to a show - convince us.

This post was modified by Sugaree83 on 2007-02-20 15:33:33

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: ghostofpig Date: Feb 20, 2007 7:37am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: The best Dead, and that's all there is to it.

Gosh. I stand insulted. Owee.


The great thing about freedom is that one can easily and quickly change the channel.

Click.

This post was modified by ghostofpig on 2007-02-20 15:37:28

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: ghostofpig Date: Feb 20, 2007 7:22am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: The best Dead, and that's all there is to it.

I might add this, my friend.

The Adirondack mountains are my spiritual homeland. I've camped, hiked, rock climbed, canoed, ice-climbed and snowshoed there for over 40 years. I'm a card carrying member of almost every environmentally active group in the area. I can't think of a more beautiful place, a better setting. I know the land up there like the proverbial back if my hand. When I heard that the Dead had played there, I kicked myself for not being there. I think that hearing my favorite band, in whatever incarnation, in such a place would have been like a little slice of heaven.

And I have listened to the tape--it is good!

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: Finster Baby Date: Feb 20, 2007 7:40am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: The best Dead, and that's all there is to it.

Glad to know that your post was tongue in cheek!!
I would hate to think that you were being as obnoxious and sanctimonious as others who would disagree with your view!!!LOL

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: ghostofpig Date: Feb 20, 2007 7:47am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: The best Dead, and that's all there is to it.

I would neither read nor post on this board if we all agreed. What would be the point? I really enjoy the enthusiasm folks have for all sorts of years and concerts and songs.

I may not like A as much as I like B--for whatever reasons--but that is in no way a slam on A or C or D. One thing among many about the Dead is that unlike the Stones or
U-2 or many long loved bands is that the Dead always tried to keep it fresh. You can tell when they are getting bored with the same old same old--so they change it up and reinvent themselves.

Sometimes I wish that I had time enough to listen to the shows that folks here rave about. So many shows so little time.

Hell, just downloading and listening to everything in 1969 s six month's worth of listening to me!

You know, the whole fucking thing would've been a lot easier if they had just stayed retired after 1974.

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: grendelschoice Date: Feb 20, 2007 8:06am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: The best Dead, and that's all there is to it.

A Grateful Dead demon has been dispatched to your residence to set fire to your copies of Cornell, Buffalo War Memorial, all of 1977, Farewell to Winterland in 1978, One From the Vault of 1975, The Alpine Valley run of 1989 and the Branford Marsalis shows of 1990.

You will have wiped from your memory henceforth any knowledge of the following Grateful Dead songs, based on your blasphemous musings about the Dead retiring in 1974:

Help on the way, Slipknot, Franklin'sTower, Music Never Stopped (for you it will), Crazy fingers, Fire on the Mountain, Terrapin Station, Estimated prophet, samson & Delilah, Pasenger, Althea, Touch of Grey,, Standing on the Moon, Shakedown Street, I need a Miracle, Throwing Stones, Brother Esau, Stagger Lee, and Picasso Moon (OK, so that one's a blessing. Many others i'm too tired to list.

Lots of cover tunes performed live as well, like Visions of Johanna, and Lucy in the Sky (OK, another blessing)....

good heavens, man...can you really be OK without those songs ever seeing the light of day?

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: Finster Baby Date: Feb 20, 2007 9:44am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: The best Dead, and that's all there is to it.

I wouldn't be OK with it. Most of us probably wouldn't, including Ghost. That is the beauty of the band and the vast archive of material, there is something there for everyone. Ghostofpig's favorite era just happens to be my least favorite. Alot of that maybe has to do with the fact that he lived thru that era and I didn't, who knows. But we can agree to disagree and it's all cool.

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: ghostofpig Date: Feb 20, 2007 12:32pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: The best Dead, and that's all there is to it.

I would have hated to miss Peggy-O, Crazy Fingers, Shakedown Street, Standing on the Moon, Victim or the Crime, and a host of other stuff!

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: grendelschoice Date: Feb 20, 2007 1:27pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: The best Dead, and that's all there is to it.

Really? Victim? I would have thought that was an example in YOUR favor ;-)

all in good fun, as always.

Still jealous about you catching shows at the Fillmore. Damn.

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: ghostofpig Date: Feb 20, 2007 3:20pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: The best Dead, and that's all there is to it.

Rubbing it in: First show 1967 Caf? AuGoGo. I was 15.

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: Finster Baby Date: Feb 20, 2007 1:55pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: The best Dead, and that's all there is to it.

Me too!!! Fillmore(s), Winterland and probably lots of other places too.

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: Earl B. Powell Date: Feb 20, 2007 7:00am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: The best Dead, and that's all there is to it.

I'm with ya, but I personally carry it on out to 1978 and not much further. The flaw in your theory is that the band held a rather peculiar place in the world order that no one else seemed capable of at the time. This perfect timing really made for a very cosmic, yet rational sociological order among those of us that believed and were braving an alternate vison of the world. Nevertheless, the Dead remained as the soundtrack for the experiment.

They didn't lyrically instigate change like you would find with the Airplane or CSNY. In retrospect, it was much more about free will to take any direction rather than to promote the antithesis of the current direction. The music was lyrically ambiguous enough to appeal to anyone that would take notice and work to find a menaing for themselves.

So, I agree that they were the shit, while riding this huge counterculture wave that ebbed in the 70's, but that doesn't and shouldn't preclude those that found meaning later on. The band remained as a backdrop or soundtrack to anyone that wanted to reach out and "get it" right up until the end. This is the personal view, of course and discounts the overall environment that came after the 70's. The cocaine years, the "me" years, all rather shitty times to go to the well for a refreshment from the ideology pool.

I personally believe that 79 was it for the band. My thinking isn't without reason and the proof is in the archive of music available right here. The loss of Pig in 73 was nothing compared to the changes that happened in 78-79 and 80. Betty Cantor out, Healy in. Exclusive sound reinforcenment from Meyer Labs from 1980 onward. Keith and Donna out, Brent in. Smoke and acid out, coke and heroin in. Even the increased use of guitar effects began around that time. Each little thing on it's own probably has little bearing, but the cumulative effect changed the sound of the band tremendously. This doesn't even consider that the zenith of the songwriting was probably around WOTF and dropped off altogether after Terrapin.

Unltimately, the latter day heads are just speaking from their own frame of reference, not having experienced the great cultural ride of the late 60's and early 70's. They are also referencing the sound that beacame familiar to their ears in their time. I don't fault them for returning to familiar ground when giving praise, but to overlook the other "eras" in terms of the quality of music and sound, is missing out.

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: William Tell Date: Feb 20, 2007 10:00am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: The best Dead, and that's all there is to it.

Enjoyed your articulate post; thanks, Earl.

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: Arbuthnot Date: Feb 20, 2007 4:08pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: The best Dead, and that's all there is to it.

Earl ... beautifully and eloquently stated.

[clipped & saved]

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: William Tell Date: Feb 20, 2007 10:02am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: The best Dead, and that's all there is to it.

Nobody's finished, we ain't even begun.
So take off your shoes, child, and take off your hat.
Try on your wings and find out where it's at.



Thanks, GOP...

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: ghostofpig Date: Feb 20, 2007 12:27pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: The best Dead, and that's all there is to it.

Take a vacation, fall out for a while,
Summer's comin' in, and it's goin' out in style
Well, lie down smokin', honey; have yourself a ball,
Cause your mother's down in Memphis, won't be back 'till the fall.

Hey hey . . . .


Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: glenn Date: Feb 20, 2007 6:01pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: The Dead's best and that's all there is to it.

The Dead's best and that's all there is to it. Nobody else ever came close to doing what they did, they were in the right place at the right time.

If you're gonna get on the bus you need to be at the corner and ready to go when it comes by.

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: BryanE Date: Feb 20, 2007 7:51am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: The best Dead, and that's all there is to it.

Ghost-
Beautifully expressed, belying the disclaimer that your head is in your ass. And after such a heartfelt treatise, I would not presume to get into some kind of pissing contest to nitpick about your opinions regarding later shows, although I disagree with those points. The fact is that a whole lot of us did have transcendent experiences at Grateful Dead concerts in the 1980's and even into the '90's. And I agree with what Phil Lesh once said regarding Steal Your Face: "I love The Grateful Dead, zits and all, and that's what Steal Your Face is-The Grateful Dead with zits." Actually, I wouldn't even go so far as to say that. His comment was in response to the overall slamming of the album, but I've never thought of it as zitty Dead-I've always liked that record a lot, believe it or not. But that's all beside the point. I very much appreciate your thoughts and will re-read them again soon.

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: ghostofpig Date: Feb 20, 2007 11:46am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: The best Dead, and that's all there is to it.

Thanks, Bryan. Your opinions are of great value.

I think the bottom line for me is simply that I was born in 1952, so my experiences with the Dead are older. The early Dead were like the background music to our my movie. I became as fanatical a head as anyone I ever met. I guess I saw sixty or so concerts in New York and a few other places between 1967 and 1973. There were major changes throughout, but they seemed more subtle and gradual at the time. It was, after all, the good ol' Grateful Dead. One moves, life changes, the band "retires" and one forgets about it, and so on.

I have always maintained that good music is good music. Each to his own--and sharing what you like with someone else is a good thing to do.

I actually have almost all of the official releases. I like quite a few of them (from different periods)--some don't do it for me.

In many respects, I wish that I had gotten back on the bus in 1976.

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: BryanE Date: Feb 20, 2007 2:39pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: The best Dead, and that's all there is to it.

For whatever it's worth, that is precisely the year that I boarded.

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: nebbish1 Date: Feb 20, 2007 6:55pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: The best Dead, and that's all there is to it.

Damn, ghostofpig, you brought a troll to the to the crucible.

You expressed the experience (t in cheek) fantastically, but didnt make the case for you exclusion of later years. I for one and others dont paint the fantasy as reality (performance by performance), but for one second if you think "Youthful ebullience" didnt express the "dinner theater" you espouse, you were done eating far before the GD were.

Will make no excuses for songs, but I have been at a bright light and I know the difference.

Excellent expository all the same.

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: SDH2O Date: Feb 20, 2007 6:54am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: The best Dead, and that's all there is to it.

My. Why don't you just let it all out? Good points all and very eloquently stated, even though it may have taken longer to read than it took to write. Yes, I have been touting the late 70's/early 80's as of late, but do not take this in any way as my saying one is superior to the other. Dead is Dead, no matter when it is. As one review of a show I read recently put it: "This is a prime example of Deadness. The Dead being the Dead." Ask 10 Heads to define "Deadness", and you will get 10 distinct and equally valid answers. Attempting to quantify and categorize this band is an excercise in futility. They are who they are WHENEVER they are. They are the Dead.

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: ghostofpig Date: Feb 20, 2007 7:01am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: The best Dead, and that's all there is to it.

We hates the Baggins. We hates it. But we agrees with it. Good music is good music. I can't think of a Dead l.p. I didn't or don't like--except maybe the last one and, of course, Steal Your Face. If they had played smaller venues later on, I would have been delighted to go. I stayed away as much because I feel stadiums and arenas are for sports as because of the music. I even liked the reintroduction of "Here Comes Sunshine" in the last incarnation. Wish Jeryy weren't so gone by the breakout of "Unbroken Chain." And, yes, I do like the last few versions of "Blow Away," and I played "I Will Take You Home" to my daughter when she was a very young child. She always smiled and thought it was written for her.


So take that, bully.


Terms of Use (31 Dec 2014)